Alumni Aiding Students in Their Career Pursuits
Online Advising Platform Opens Door for Interpersonal Career Consultations
As he approached his senior year at Saint Joseph’s University, Nicholas Chingas ’16 “had not really begun my job search yet.” He needed guidance, someone to talk to about his options.
At the time, Chingas had a strong resume: student senate president, majors in finance and economics and internships at American Mortgage Processing Services and Citizens Bank. The Newtown, Pa., native envisioned his destination as the financial services industry. He just didn’t know what path to walk.
Enter financial services industry veteran John Trainor ’83, MBA ’88, managing director and senior credit officer in the Asset-Backed Finance Group within Wells Fargo Securities in Charlotte, N.C. Through the Alumni Association’s new online career-advising platform SJU Connects, Chingas and Trainor connected and developed their relationship through email and phone conversations. The more than 500 miles separating them was never an issue.
SJU Connects opens the door for one-on-one career consultations among members of the SJU community. Through a secure connection, alumni advisors can engage in career conversations, perform resume critiques and conduct mock interviews with advisees (students or alumni). Users also have access to a robust gallery of career-focused webinars. Since its late 2015 launch, the platform has attracted 567 advisors and 453 advisees and more than 140 connections have been made.
“Having a professional conversation with an alumnus is so much easier than with someone who did not attend SJU,” Chingas said. “Right off of the bat, you have something to start and carry your conversation. This was an opportunity to expand my professional network, improve my resume and learn more about the direction of the industry I wanted to enter.”
The pair has engaged in conversations ranging from their time at SJU and personal developments to resume edits, searching for a job, the future of the financial services industry and the various career paths open to Chingas.
“We are the sum total of everyone who has ever touched our lives,” said Trainor, a member of the Alumni Association’s National Alumni Board. “I’ve been very blessed to have people who put in the time to help me develop as a person and professional. Alumni have a responsibility to help those who follow us in the same manner as the people who helped us. I enjoy the mentor/mentee relationship because I learn just as much from the mentees as I hope they learn from me.”
Trainor helped Chingas finalize his resume, advised him on what jobs to look for and relayed pointers about how to impress supervisors during his summer internship in commercial portfolio management at Citizens Bank. Chingas took those pointers to heart and eventually leveraged his experience with the bank and knowledge of the field to receive and accept an offer to enter Citizens’ Commercial Banker Development Program after graduation.
“John was with me every step of the way and because of his guidance, I am not looking back on my decision,” he said.
– Kevin Kaufman